Wednesday, 20 June 2012

#281: What Happy Turtles Know

If a happy marriage leads to longevity, (see yesterday’s post), wouldn’t you think that an older couple in a really, really long relationship would most likely be really happy?

Not necessarily.

The Klagenfurt zoo in Austria reports that their 115 year old giant turtles, mated since youth, suddenly want nothing to do with one another and now refuse to share the same cage.  In a fit of annoyance, Bibi even attacked her mate Poldi and chewed off part of his shell so that he had to move out.  The zoo has attempted therapy with the unhappy pair, but to no avail.  They may have to get a divorce.  

But wait.  Before they give up on the Turtles, those zookeepers need to consult other older couples who have had similar experiences.  Every retired husband and wife knows that suddenly living in one another’s pocket day after day after day is crazy making.  Imagine enforced togetherness for over 100 years.  No wonder poor Bibi snapped. 

The secret to a happy marriage in retirement is variety and activity; the partners need to keep busy and engaged outside of the relationship.  These turtles need hobbies.  Or opportunities to volunteer.  They need to feel good about themselves so that at the end of the day, they will have more to talk about than the size of their cage or what’s on the menu.

Come on, Klagenfurt zoo keepers.  Surely you can come up suitable activities for two elderly zoo turtles.   Mascot work, perhaps?  I bet Bibi and Poldi would love hanging out with visitors.
A happy resort turtle at work. 
Keep those turtles cheerful and busy!  In the long run, it will be cheaper than alimony.

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